Famed astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson is under fire Sunday after appearing to downplay the two mass shootings in the U.S. that left 34 people dead in the last 48 hours. Tyson listed the number of people who die from medical mistakes, the flu, suicide and car accidents on average over two days, and suggested "emotions respond more to spectacle than to data." Tyson's comments followed the shootings in El Paso, Texas, where 20 people were killed, and Dayton, Ohio, where nine people were killed.
In the past 48hrs, the USA horrifically lost 34 people to mass shootings.
On average, across any 48hrs, we also lose…
500 to Medical errors
300 to the Flu
250 to Suicide
200 to Car Accidents
40 to Homicide via Handgun
Often our emotions respond more to spectacle than to data.— Neil deGrasse Tyson (@neiltyson) August 4, 2019
Tyson's comments earned an overwhelming negative reaction from Twitter users.
"Can you also please quantify how fear affects our societies ability to function? Or the impact these deaths have on the family, friends, and communities of the victims? Or how it can inspire more acts?" one person wrote. "Seriously, f— off with this hot garbage comparison."
"Go get arrested protesting at a nuclear test site. Use your celebrity and intellectual status to challenge the status quo. Otherwise you are useless!" another wrote.
We're working to prevent medical errors.
We're working to prevent the flu.
We're working to prevent suicide.
We're working to prevent car accident.
We're doing fuck all about mass shootings.
Spot the difference, Neil.— Rekalty (@Rekalty) August 4, 2019
Cars are more regulated than assault weapons in much of the country.— Adam Best (@adamcbest) August 4, 2019
I’m just gonna throw this out there - what if all of those were bad and preventing any of them is good?— Mike Drucker (@MikeDrucker) August 4, 2019
"I have a lot of respect for your scientific knowledge, but you need to get some empathy," another person wrote. "This post is wholly unacceptable and an affront to the grieving families. Gun violence is with malice, those others are not."
Many others pointed out that while action has been taken to stop deaths from medical errors, the flu, suicide and car accidents, politicians have done little to curb gun violence at the national level.
Tyson's tweet came 24 hours after the mass shooting in El Paso, where a 21-year-old white male shot and killed 20 people and injured at least 26 others. Hours later, in Dayton, another white male shot and killed nine people, injuring at least 27 others.
In El Paso, the suspect was arrested. In Dayton, the suspect was killed by police.
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